An estimated 10,000 visitors attended the 28th annual Salmon Festival on Sept. 24 to learn about the salmon life cycle and participate in activities celebrating the return of Chinook salmon to the Feather River.
California Department of Water Resources (DWR) staff estimated that over 700 children and adults participated in DWR-led tours at the Feather River Fish Hatchery’s spawning room to observe the spawning operations carried out by the hatchery’s California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) staff. CDFW staff also sold fish food to attendees and youngsters especially loved feeding the juvenile salmon that are held in long ponds called ‘raceways’ until they grow large enough to be released to the wild.
On the other side of the river, salmon BBQ, a kid’s Fun Zone, the Oro Dam Cruisers ‘Gold Rush Car Show’, music, live glass blowing, videos about efforts to protect California’s salmon, and visits to historic Oroville’s downtown shops and area museums entertained and educated festival attendees. Many also saw salmon up close as they paddled down the river with the kayak tours featuring DWR biologists who shared education about the salmonid life cycle and river habitat. The Salmon Festival is always held on the fourth Saturday in September.
Taking Action to Protect Salmon
DWR leads or supports more than 120 ongoing projects to protect endangered or threatened species in California’s waterways, including salmon. DWR is partnering with CDFW and many other federal, state, local, non-governmental, tribal, and academic partners to study, support, and protect salmon while continuing to meet the health and safety water needs of our communities.
Over the past several months, DWR has been sharing on its social media channels newly created videos and a storymap featuring some of these projects. The content highlights the ways DWR and its partners are restoring critical habitat, improving migration success, and increasing monitoring efforts to better track the status of salmon populations and devise new strategies to improve their status, especially as climate change impacts increase.
These videos and other educational videos about salmon can be found on DWR’s social media channels – Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram – as well as on the DWR YouTube channel (search for Salmon 2022). The storymap, first found in the news release “State Agencies Partner to Support Salmon Populations While Supplying Water To Millions of Californians” published this spring, has been updated with each new video.
The Feather River Fish Hatchery becomes a popular recreation destination in the fall as the chinook salmon return to the Feather River finish their life cycle and start a new one.
Visitors can watch the salmon jumping at the hatchery’s Fish Barrier Dam Overlook, see salmon up close through the underwater viewing window as they swim up the fish ladder, and visit the main hatchery where CDFW staff perform spawning, rearing, and stocking activities. The hatchery is open daily 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the overlook area is open sunrise to sunset.
A return to warmer temperatures and less smoke from area wildfires provides a welcome opportunity to take advantage of the spectacular views from the crest of Oroville Dam. Visitors can often see bicyclists, walkers, and joggers on the 1.01-mile length of the crest (2.02 miles round-trip) where a near constant breeze makes for a comfortable exercise experience and offers occasional spotting of Lake Oroville’s bald eagles riding the air currents by the dam.
The Loafer Point Stage II and Bidwell Canyon Stage III ramps continue to be open and will remain so for the rest of the season. The Spillway boat ramp and the Lime Saddle boat ramp are closed for the season and will re-open when lake levels rise again from upcoming fall and winter precipitation. Shuttle service to moored boats is available at the Lime Saddle Marina from 8:30 am. to 4 p.m. The Bidwell Canyon Marina will also be open from 8:30 am. to 8 p.m. with shuttle service available during that time.
The Lake Oroville area has over 92 miles of trails, all open to hiking, with some also allowing for horseback riding, some also allowing biking, and some designated for “multi-use” where all three activities may occur on the same trail. Trails and their permitted uses, day use areas, boat ramps and other recreation facilities are featured on DWR’s interactive map on DWR’s Lake Oroville Recreation webpage. And step inside the Lake Oroville Visitor Center, open Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., to learn about the State Water Project and history of the area.
DWR’s Oroville Field Division is seeking applicants for the position of Public Information Officer II to perform the professional and technical tasks related to community outreach, media relations, and public affairs activities, focusing on DWR’s activities in the Oroville area and the long-term response to the Oroville Dam spillway incident.
Persons interested in joining one of the top communications teams in California state service can find information and instructions about how to apply on the DWR Careers website (click on the ‘View Jobs’ button and enter ‘Public Information Officer; into the search tab.) Applicants can also contact the Hiring Unit Contact at 916-820-7660 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The final filing date is Oct. 4, 2022.
Current Lake Operations
The elevation of Oroville’s reservoir is about 697 feet elevation and storage is about 1.23 million acre-feet (MAF), which is 35 percent of its total capacity and 64 percent of historical average. Temperatures this weekend and into next week are forecasted to be in the upper-80s to the low-90s.
The Feather River releases are currently at 2,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) and continue to meet downstream Delta water quality and outflow needs. Flows through the City of Oroville are 650 cfs with 1,850 cfs released from the Thermalito Afterbay Outlet (Outlet) for a total of 2,500 cfs downstream of the Outlet. DWR continues to assess releases to the Feather River daily.
The public can track precipitation, snow, reservoir levels, and more at the California Data Exchange Center at www.cdec.water.ca.gov. The Lake Oroville gage station is identified as “ORO”.
All data as of midnight 9/29/2022